About police and policing

[ Ranjit Sinha ]
A few decades ago, police personnel in Arunachal Pradesh literally had very little role in maintaining law and order, since the peace-loving people of the state, particularly in the villages, had their own mechanism to check and control criminal activities.
The people had – and still have – full faith in village institutions which exist in Arunachal and other states of the Northeast. Even today, a majority of the people in the remote areas are ambivalent about seeking audience with police personnel – not because they are not law abiding people, but because they prefer to maintain peace and brotherhood without going through the long procedures of the justice system.
However, with the gradual increase in population, including that of ‘outsiders’, in the state, the greed of some people often takes over needs and spreads its tentacles in the rural areas, making it difficult for the traditional village institutions to maintain peace and tranquility, which prompts government agencies to step in.
Moreover, since successive state governments have walked the extra mile to accelerate the pace of development, particularly in terms of roads, railways, airways and digital connectivity, the area of functioning of the police, with a staff strength of a little more than 12,000 personnel, has increased in order to address the grievances of the roughly 16 lakh population of the state.
The Arunachal Pradesh Police (APP), which has traversed a long way since its inception in the early 1970s, is not lagging behind. In its endeavour to maintain peaceful atmosphere in the state, and to increase its reach to the public, the APP has now embraced the digital media.
According to DGP SBK Singh, the APP website, along with its Facebook and Twitter pages, will enable the public to come closer to the police, to lodge their grievances directly, and to offer suggestions on maintaining law and order and improving public safety and police services.
Arunachal Pradesh has been witnessing an increase in criminal activities, including rape, in recent times, which has prompted the state government to enact harsh laws, particularly to curb cases involving rape of minors.
In order to increase its reach to the public and tackle criminal activities like rape, murder, robbery, and atrocities against women, the APP has to come up with bold steps. At the same time, the traffic cell and the fire service need to effectively implement traffic regulation and check and control the increasing number of fire accidents in the state.
After the completion of the four-lane highway in the capital complex, and the Trans-Arunachal Highway across the state, the inflow of visitors and tourists will increase, which may result in more traffic chaos and road accidents. The unexpected increase in tourist flow to Dibang Valley after the opening of the Bhupen Hazarika bridge should be an eye-opener for the state’s police force.
On the other hand, fire mishaps are increasingly taking their toll across the state every year. The police department, particularly the fire service, must equip itself not only to bring awareness among the masses about preventing fire mishaps, but also to take prompt action when such incidences occur.